Last night we did an On-Deck stream featuring Lead Artist gingergladiator and Senior Game Designer Error1st, talking about what’s coming up in Q1 2018 and taking a fair few of your questions. You can check out the full video below, or alternatively you can read the highlights we’ve made in this post.
Highlights – On Deck
New Update Schedule
For 2018 we will be introducing a new update schedule which will consist of two Patches and one large Update. Patches can be anything from balancing, bug fixes, new ships, new skins or other small new features, and updates will contain some much bigger features which take longer to make (game modes, new maps etc). Previously we’ve been doing an update every month or so, which just doesn’t leave us enough time to work on huge changes to the game which can really make a difference for Fractured Space. So for Q1 of this year, we’ll be releasing a patch at the end of January and February, followed by a big update at the end of March (subject to change). We’re really excited about this change, and can’t wait to get our teeth into bigger, greater features!
January Patch 2018
– Badges! We’ve been promising badges for a crazy long time, and we’re finally able to say badges will be going into the game for this patch. We’ll be starting with the ones that were previously promised: tournaments, events, and some other ones. Once these badges are in, we’ll be working on some more for you guys to get throughout the year.
– We’ll be re-working the Leaderboards and making them update weekly. There’s not a huge amount of information we have about this yet, however we hope that this can be a fun and fair chase item for some players, which may even feel more rewarding than getting your MMR up. We’ll be giving a few prizes out for the top 3 players of the leaderboard in the first week, so keep an eye out!
– A new Ultimate Skin will be releasing too, with a little difference to what you’ll be used to. This Ultimate Skin has three colour variants, all of which will be obtainable through a couple of different ways. More details to come in the next week or so about this, including what ship it’s for!
February Patch and March Update
We mentioned on stream that we would be releasing more information about this closer to the time. While we want to be as open as possible with the community, we also want to be able to build some hype and create some mystery about our updates. What we can tell you however, is that the March update will feature a completely new game mode – it’s not Conquest, it’s not Frontline and it’s not something we have ever done in Fractured Space before. Keep an eye out for more information throughout the next couple of months!
Highlights – Q&A
Q: Will there be a long range TDS Ship?
A: Not right now, but we wouldn’t rule it out.
Q: Do you have any plans for Elite XP?
A: The idea is that Elite XP will tie into Master Skins, however this system has not been designed yet and is very much subject to change.
Q: Will we have the player numbers to support a new game mode (regarding the March Update)?
A: The March update is planned to have some bigger scale marketing to go with it, so yes, there should be the player numbers to sustain another game mode.
Q: Any update on Voice Comms?
A: Not so far, it’s definitely not planned for Q1. It’s possible, but unlikely to happen in Q2 but we can’t guarantee anything. There a lot of different opinions at the studio on this one as to how important they are. Some would like to focus on better communication in game (improving chat wheel, and general things in the game like status effects, pings etc). It’s not off the table, but it’s not quite on it either.
Q: Will Founders get Founder Badges?
A: Technically you already have them, but we will spruce them up and make them appear on your player tag when you’re in a match too, similar to how the Dev badges work.
Q: Can you give us a clue of what ship the new Ultimate Skin is for?
A: Nope! But we’ll be releasing more information next week… keep an eye out!
Q: What’s happening in Q3 and Q4?
A: While we have an idea of what we want to do, each update depends on how the previous one goes, we work in an agile environment and therefore we have to be able to adapt quickly to address anything which may need doing. With this in mind, we aren’t going to get anyone’s hopes up by saying “we will do X feature in Q3 or 4” when the reality is, it could be changed in an instant.
Q: When will there be a Basilisk Pizza Slice skin and a Pioneer Burrito Skin?
A: From gingergladiator himself – “Draw it and send it to us, if it’s good enough I’ll do it”. (Subject to change).
Q: Are there any plans to reduce Nebula Storms?
A: Yes, you guys have given us some good feedback on it. We will be reducing either the rate in which they occur, or how dense they are, or both!
Q: Are we turning splitting off?
A: Until the player base is large enough, no. It’s a bad feature, we don’t like it. However, the splits are necessary to reduce matchmaking times (having the split allows us to be looser with matchmaking rules), the split rules themselves are set to not break up a team if their total MMR difference is lower than 1000 when compared to the enemy team therefore new players shouldn’t be as affected as experienced players by this. There are definitely new players who have been split (we’ve seen the reddit and steam posts), and we may make adjustments to ensure new players are kept together more often, but ultimately this feature will stay in the game until there are more players.
Q: Any plans to buff light ships?
A: We have a few plans to make some subtle changes in favour of light ships, it’s on our radar, keep an eye out.
Q: Are you considering console ports?
A: We’d like to in the future, but it’s certainly not happening in the foreseeable future – we need to get the game in a better state on PC before even thinking about that.
Q: Any update on Dynamic Tool Tips?
A: Yes, but unfortunately not a good one. We’ve always said this will go in with localisation, which is also planned for March. However the developer who was going to be doing this has left the company to pursue his own project, meaning that dynamic tool tips will be delayed again. It’s genuinely a very big blow for us, we understand how important it is to get up to date information into the game, and it’s possible that we may manually change the tool tips as a small bandage for now, but we can’t promise anything.
Q: Will there be a test pilot program back with the new update schedule?
A: We’re not sure yet, there are a lot of logistical issues with having the test pilot program. It doesn’t sound like too much effort, but being able to get a working build out to an external branch for you guys to try out is actually very time consuming, and time is often not something we are free of. Likewise, the build we would release to test pilots would have to be in a stable place to gather feedback efficiently; the issue here is that a stable build does not come around until later in the sprint, meaning any feedback we do get would be unlikely to have an effect on the first initial build. We would like to get something like this going again, it’s just figuring out the best way to do it, to get the best results and also to not take players away from the live game at a time where we need players online.
Q: How about more VFX colours?
A: It’s on our to do list but not high priority right now.
Q: Will there ever be more credit sinks?
A: It’s a tough one for the veteran players, they’ve played so long that they’re always going to have tons of credits. There are things we could do like make exclusive cosmetic items etc, but what would you guys want to see?
Q: Will skin gifting be ever be a thing?
A: It’s not impossible, we just have to make sure it would work with our economy and figure out how long it would take. It would certainly be cool though!
Q: Is there going to be a decision on hiding MMR?
A: The general consensus at ECG is that we should have the option to hide it in the game. The big debate we’re having at the moment, is whether we hide it by default or show it. We’ve made changes so far by hiding how much MMR you’ve lost if you lose, because we don’t want players to feel terrible when they lose, we want them to feel like they want another shot at winning. Most games try to make a loss feel ok by using subtle psychological influences (in this stream, Steggs used the example of Shaxx from Destiny who tells you it’s ok to lose and to get back in the fight when playing PvP), whereas we have depressing music, “DEFEAT” in big capital letters, and show how much MMR you’ve lost, this is something we want to change.
Q: Any changes to the Watchman coming up?
A: Yes, we’ll be bringing back the previous loadout as an option, we may also tweak the current loadout but that’s undecided.
Q: Are there plans to add alternate VO lines for Crew?
A: We would like to yes! It’s just really a case of whether it’s better for us to do new crew, or do alternate voice lines. At the moment, new crew comes first, but if we can get some of the previous voice actors in, we might get some extra lines for existing crew.
Q: Any ECG Sponsored Tournaments coming up?
A: KP has some plans, more details to come soon!
Q: There’s been mentions of changes to the Matchmaker/Balancer, is anything happening on this?
A: The matchmaker is not our own system, we can give it rules but we are limited as to what we can really do with it. We would like to create our own matchmaker which would give us total flexibility in terms of it’s capabilities, however this is a huge amount of work and is unlikely to be on the cards any time soon.
Q: Any chance of an in game message system?
A: Yes, we were working on global chat for some time last year but it got pushed for higher priority items. It’s still not one of the highest priorities but we’d like to get it in game eventually.